What everyone sharing things on the internet can learn from the slightly creepy Reply Guy.
If you’re a woman who spends enough time on Twitter, you will eventually cross paths with what the Twittersphere has dubbed the Reply Guy.
He’s usually a married man between the ages of thirty and say fifty with a modest following of about thirty-seven people (many of which may or may not be real).
He sports a slightly off-center patchy beard and maybe even a pair of glasses accented with some serious camera glare. And, he is notorious for cheesily… eerily… creepily… responding to every single one of your tweets.
No. He’s not necessarily a stalker. Not technically. But, he’s perhaps just a stone’s throw away from being a stalker.
The Reply Guy’s antics aren’t unlike the drunken asshat firing finger pistols at the women at a local bar, he just wants to stay top of mind (and regularly remind his victims he’s keeping tabs).
But, finger pistols aside.
Truth be told I’m not here to poke too much fun at the Reply Guy. But, instead, draw some inspiration from him…
I think there is something all of us sharing things on the internet can learn from this awkward internet chatty cat.
As both a writer and marketer that shares an assload of writings and musings online myself, I’ve begun to notice a phenomenon among other marketers and writers, as well as “content creators” (I still loathe that word) and basically anyone sharing anything online.
We love sharing and posting and tweeting and emailing but when others respond to the shit we’re sharing and posting and tweeting and emailing… we go as dead-silent as a goddamn church mouse suffering from a bad case of laryngitis.
(And, yes, I know I’m oddly grouping email into this bunch but if you send out a newsletter like me it’s basically social media).
In other words, social media is no longer social.
The magic in social media — and yes there is magic despite its anxiety-inducing, attention-depleting, insecurity-creating toxicity — is the conversation.
That’s what puts the fucking word “social” in social media (and creepiness aside, it’s what the Reply Guy does exceptionally well).
I’m beginning to notice that social media is becoming more and more akin to a person standing in a room with a full-length mirror yelling, screaming and taking pictures and not giving a damn about anybody else… as long as they’re getting steady and consistent shots of dopamine in the form of likes and comments and replies, etc.
“We’re working in silos”.
There is a buzzword you hear often in the world of business when team communication begins to break down like a bad knee replacement…
“working in silos”
It’s a nice visual for what’s going on in social media… all of us are standing in giant grain silos tweeting and sharing and emailing and Instagramming to our heart’s delight and are mostly blind to those around us.
Something has got to give.
As Honey Copy has grown into two newsletters ( Sticky Notes & Stranger Than Fiction) and has begun to amass a following on Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and Medium … keeping up with replies and comments and tweets and emails has become a real time commitment.
However, despite this time commitment, I’ve decided that if someone is going to take the time to write me a thoughtful note, I can find the time to write something back.
Now, to be completely transparent, I’m not always successful at this. There are certainly unanswered emails sitting in my inbox covered in dust.
However, I have about an 85% response rate and I’m trying to draw some inspiration from the Reply Guy (without the creepiness) and eventually not let a damn response I receive from a reader go unanswered.
I’ll get there one day.
Rant aside, what I’ve found to be most helpful in playing both sides of the social sphere is scheduling out an hour each day to respond to email and all social media.
This prevents me from checking and rechecking it multiple times throughout the day and allows me to use this chunk of time to not only publish and share my work but respond to those who’ve responded to the work I’ve shared and published.
Anyone creating anything on the internet today needs to remember the “social” in social media.
Perhaps, we need a few more Reply Guys and Gals.
By Cole Schafer.
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